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Guardians of the Yosemite (1961) by John W. Bingaman


PREFACE

The purpose in writing this book is to leave permanent records of the First Rangers who contributed so much during their long years of service, and to bridge the gap from the military to the civilian protection and administration of Yosemite National Park.

During the years of my service in Yosemite, from 1918 to 1956, I found there was very little information on the lives and activities of the First Rangers. Some of these men were still in service when I became a Ranger. However, many had died and their records were few and scattered.

In the old days, one would hear the remark, “It is a privilege to work for the Park Service.” It was a privilege for me to serve thirty-eight years in the Yosemite Ranger Service, to be associated with the many fine Park people and the guardians and administrators of the National Park Service whose principal purpose was to serve loyally the cause of the parks.

Today more technical training and scientific aids provide many advantages over the pioneer methods. Helicopters and airplane tankers help to fight forest fires and transport men and equipment to the fire line. Most of the fish planting and emergencies, such as rescue operations, are now done by plane.

It is interesting to compare present conditions to those of forty years ago when Superintendent Lewis and Gabriel Sovulewski performed their duties with horse-drawn equipment. Rangers in those days lived under poor housing conditions, and were often shut in without access to the outside for days and sometimes weeks. However, instances of “cabin fever” were rare and there was little grumbling. It took strong characters and a certain dedication to accomplish what there was to do in the pioneer days of the National Park Service. It also took men of courage for some of them died while on duty. I sincerely hope the protective efforts of our First Rangers, other Park Service personnel, mutually interested conservationists and administrators have created such precedents that our National Parks will always be maintained according to the ideals of their original concept:

“The National Parks must be maintained in absolutely unimpaired form for the use of future generations as well as those of our own time.

They are set aside for the use, observation, health and pleasure of the people.

The National interest must dictate all decisions affecting public or private enterprise in the Parks.”

I am indebted to my many friends and fellow Park Service members for the help given me in assembling the material for this book. I am especially grateful to Dr. Carl P. Russell for his help and encouragement; to Park Naturalist Douglass Hubbard of the Yosemite Museum; to Randall Henderson of Palm Desert, California, former Editor of Desert Magazine; to Otis Burton Cannon of Palm Springs, California; to Horace M. Albrought, former Director of the National Park Service.

I am indebted to the following and express thanks to Superintendent John C. Preston, Chief Ranger Fladmark and Staff, for the valuable help in making it possible for me to secure important data and material for this manuscript. To H. R. Sault, Homer Hoyt, Merrill Miller, John Wegner and a few other retired employees and associates that have contributed data and pictures, I am very grateful and give thanks.


Next: Tender FootContentsPrevious: Foreword

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Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

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